JOE BELL (2021)

Directed By: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Written By: Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Cinematography: Jacques Jouffret 
Editor: Mark Sanger 

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Reid Miller, Connie Britton, Gary Sinise, Charles Halford, Maxwell Jenkins, Morgan Lily 

The true story of a small town, a working-class father who embarks on a walk across the U.S. to crusade against bullying after his son is tormented in high school for being gay. Meanwhile, he realizes he is instead missing out on his son’s life back at home.


Though based on a true story it’s a movie that feels more ideal in its instincts to produce a message. Even as the exact message isn’t quite so clear and makes the film feel awkward about its own subjects.

As it is definitely a message movie that ends up being about the main character rather than its message. As we follow an all-American mid-west manly man the films seems to take aim at trying to court for the film. As he deals not only with his son’s sexuality but the lack of acceptance he offered which leads to tragedy and guilt that threatens to Tear him And his family apart.

So the film seems aimed at the character trying to Make amends for his past. What the film is trying to do, Spread the message of his cause and humanize it into acceptance. 

Especially with a tough guy action star Mark Wahlberg is sensitive and open emotionally. Learning the lessons of his wrongs while also learning to be accepting. Even learning to fight for it. Hoping to open more audience members eyes and hearts to teach them about being open to others who are not like them, but help and protect them against prejudice. 

Though for as honorable as the character might be. It shows how hypocritical the character can be and how damaged he is by guilt. Allowing for a complex character, but makes the film More about him Then the message.

Luckily all the performances are believable and strong. Which is a particular strength of director Reinaldo Marcus Green in his previous films KING RICHARD and MONSTERS AND MEN he usually Gets grounded performances out of the stars more than expected by burying them so deep that it never feels Like showboating or a stunt. 

The film manages to stay on message by trying to be poignant. It feels heavy-handed but that might be what is needed in trying to send this film’s message. As not to be some kind of saintly or martyred movie or make one of the wrong characters. Instead of trying to make it a character study.

The film is admirable, we see the main character break down and cry. We watch him as he goes downtrodden and even beat up.  

Connie Britton’s character is the strongest throughout. As she is no-nonsense and always feels truthful. She quickly becomes the film’s heart. As she always seems in the right place with most scenes built to get an emotional reaction.

The film shows the horror of bullying and the prejudices you face when being LGBTQ+ in a small and small-minded community and what is going Against them. 

The film also manages to show some good people in the world and that through it all. We are all Messed up and have our own personal problems, but we should try to help and support one another. That maybe you dislike or choose to hate, has nothing to do with them and says something more about you.

The film spells it all out in the third act. If you think it might be too subtle. Those you love let them know you love and support them. Accept them for who they ate or it might forever haunt you literally.

This is a good-hearted film that feels like it is pandering to a degree. As the story is more told in the aftermath. While literally showing is to don’t judge another until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

The film didn’t seem to ah e much attention upon release. It was on my radar to watch especially with mark Wahlberg trying a more dramatic socially conscious role. Which is a kind of relief from his other usual roles where there is always a certain comfort that can feel Smug or overbearing. 

Even if it feels hypocritical and heavy-handed at times. Especially the Ending. Where it really hits home. As a tragedy with flashbacks. Though have to go with the true story and try to inform. What might have happened on the road. As the film ends up being episodic more about dealing with guilt. That strays from

The message. Especially with speeches that seem not that special and just more short homespun wisdom That could be said at group therapy or an AA meeting. As they Don’t Come off enlightening just basic 

Grade: C+

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (2020)

Written & Directed: Emerald Fennell 
Cinematography: Benjamin Kracun 
Editor: Frederic Thoraval 

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Adam Brody, Sam Richardson, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverene Cox, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Loren Paul, Christopher Lowell, Steve Monroe

A young woman, traumatized by a tragic event in her past, seeks out vengeance against those who crossed her path.


The film seeks to try to make its points over and over again that feel like overkill and preaching to a certain extent.

The film manages to surprise the audience using exploitation expectations though giving something else entirely.

This film would have worked fine enough if it was what one was expecting a revenge tale against so-called nice guys and bad guys alike.

Though the film addresses more and it tries to be a film that inspires discussion and becomes more of a think piece than necessarily Just a film. This is fine as long as it offers more arguments and evidence for what it seems to want to spark conversations. 

Some aspects are left vague as we never really See what happens once she is down with her encounters with these men and are never really told what happens after. Is it just confrontation as a kind of exposing and warning to them? Does she do anything violent to them and if the just warning does she really Get revenge and does she have a backup security measure if these guys decide to get violent?

Even with her little notebook which she seems to make markings in of another case or victim. What Is it all for?

Not to mention afterwards though it seems to happen around the same town and area. It never comes back to her until the film needs it to, which comes off as a bit too convenient.

The film offers interesting twists but while there is a certain level of guilt. We still might wonder why she takes on this mission. 

Her revenge schemes are thought out, cruel, and make their points. Even though most men are made out to be villains throughout there are some women who are just as guilty in their ambivalence.

The film seems to make a point against nice guys being as bad or worse than predators. As they see themselves above it all and defend or support women. Though deep down they hold the same attitudes as those predators and believe because of their other good deeds that they are somehow owed love or a woman. Even as these nice guys already seem kind of predatory or at least douchey beforehand. 

Especially by casting actors, we have seen as the nice guy nerdish characters in other films and television shows. Who here makes cameos or has a scene or two Then disappear. That truly only one character actually does surprise me.

This also gives the film a whiff of superiority as it comes off more about issues than character. Which for some might feel for some

Preachy and while a film about the issues it presents are welcome. The film isn’t as good to back it up, Or be a good example.

Nice to see comedian Bo Burnham Giving more of a meaty supporting role. 

This is a revenge tale that takes comfort in being in and having the rules but acts like it is better than them. When it actually might be a little smarter and more discreet in its handling And treatment of the Material.

Which helps the film not be as exploitative. As the character and scenes aren’t made erotic or sexualized. It comes off as more of a new normal get more through a feminine gaze. Though strangely in its set-up and backgrounds it feels almost like it’s taking place on a kind of dreamland as it is real but feels artificial, more pretty than anything. 

The design of the film is remarkable and quite brightly colored to offset the dark behaviors and characters.

The film’s strength is more in its surprising and unpredictable third act. 

This is also a movie that loses some points due to hype. As ever since hearing about the film before it Came out wanted to see it and heard nothing but good things to the point of it’s Multiple academy award nominations And win for best original screenplay. But not after finally seeing it. That hype hurt the film in my eyes. 

Even when trying to put that aside others might have Been lucky to Discover it to admire it for what it is. (The best way To see any film) But coming into the film with preconceived thoughts. It doesn’t live up to the prose exactly. As it isn’t horrible but not as good as expected though better than average. 

It feels like a lifetime movie due to the can be anywhere, Polished no violence but always a threat of it and actions mostly Done on theory with big histrionics and a cast more known for appearances on television. 

The film even introduces an idea that might even work as a sequel 

GRADE: B-

THE TO-DO LIST (2013)

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Written & Directed By: Maggie Carey
Cinematography By: Doug Emmett 

Editor: Paul Frank 


 Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Connie Britton, Rachel Bilson, Donald Glover, Christophe Mintz-Plasse, Scott Porter, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Clark Gregg, Andy Samberg, Adam Pally, D.C.Pierson, Dominic Dierkes

Feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college, Brandy Klark makes a list of things to accomplish before hitting campus in the fall.

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (REMAKE) (2010)

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Directed By: Samuel Bayer
Written By: Wesley Strick & Eric Heisserer
Story By: Wesley Strick
Based On Characters Created By: Wes Craven
Cinematography: Jeff Cutter
Editor: Glen Scantelbury 

Cast: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, Connie Britton, Clancy Brown, Kyle Gallner, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellan Lutz 


Death stalks the dreams of several young adults to claim its revenge on the killing of Freddy Kruger. Chased and chastised by this finger-bladed demon, it is the awakening of old memories and the denials of a past of retribution that spurns this hellish vision of a dreamlike state and turns death into a nightmare reality.

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